Leopards, Griquas remain in control in Currie Cup qualifiers
The Leopards and GWK Griquas maintained their dominant form in the second round of the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division qualifying round as they secured back-to-back victories to remain in the top two positions on the log table.
The Leopards thumped the Valke 45-22 in Kempton Park on Friday, while GWK Griquas beat the Boland Cavaliers 21-3 in Wellington on Saturday to remain the only unbeaten teams in the series. The Leopards’ bonus-point victory, however, allowed them to leapfrog the Kimberley side for the top spot on the log.
In the other match the SWD Eagles pipped the Down Touch Griffons 40-37 in George.
Valke 22 (10) Leopards 45 (10)
The Valke put up a good fight in the first half of their opening match of the series against the Leopards with flyhalf Jaun Kotze opening up the scoring in the seventh minute with a drop goal to hand his team a 3-0 lead. Leopards wing Kobus de Kock, however, crossed the tryline for his team’s first try in the 14th minute, which captain, former Springbok Andre Pretorius, converted. The Valke hit back in the second quarter with a try by Riaan Arends, but their narrow lead was cancelled out by a Pretorius penalty. This left the teams tied at 10-10 at the break.
The Valke came out firing in the second half, which earned Arends his second try eight minutes into the half. This was followed by two tries in nine minutes by the Leopards to another by the Valke in a thrilling run of play, which handed the Leopards a 22-17 lead with 25 minutes to play. The visitors, however, managed a late charge which allowed them to add three tries to take their total for the match to six for a convincing 45-22 win.
Valke 22 (10) – Tries: Arno Poley, Riaan Arends (2). Conversions: Jaun Kotze (2). Drop Goal: Kotze.
Leopards 45 (10) – Tries: Francois Robertse, George Tossel, Juan Language, Kobus de Kock (2), Sthembiso Mhlongo . Conversions: André Pretorius (6). Penalty: Pretorius.
Boland Cavaliers 3 (0) GWK Griquas 21 (8)
The Boland Cavaliers gave a good account of themselves on defence in their clash against GWK Griquas at the Boland Stadium in Wellington, as they limited the series favourites to three tries and denied them a bonus point. In a rare opening quarter GWK Griquas received two yellow cards, reducing their team to 13 men, but they struggled to convert this advantage into points. Despite this, the first half was a tight affair, with the only points scored being a try and penalty respectively by GWK Griquas fullback Gouws Prinsloo.
The visitors, however, managed to penetrate Boland’s defence twice in the second half, to add to a penalty by Prinsloo, while the only points the hosts could squeeze from the match was a penalty by fullback Eric Zana.
Boland Cavaliers 3 (0) – Penalty: Eric Zana
GWK Griquas 21 (8) – Tries: Gouws Prinsloo, Hilton Lobberts, Howard Mnisi. Penalties: Gouws Prinsloo (2).
SWD Eagles 40 (7) Down Touch Griffons 37 (27)
In George, the SWD Eagles staged a strong second-half fightback to secure a victory against the Down Touch Griffons in an exciting match at Outeniqua Park. The Welkom team got the match off to a flying start despite an early try by Eagles wing Luzuko Vulindlu, as they produced a fine attacking performance to cross the tryline three times in the first half. Centre Vuyo Mbotho scored their first five-pointer, followed by No8 Erik le Roux and Elandre Huggett, which forced the team into a commanding 37-7 lead.
The Down Touch Griffons maintained their momentum in the second half with wing Norman Nelson crossing the line for their bonus-point try in the second minute. But two tries in as many minutes by the SWD Eagles forced them back into the match, which they backed up with another three tries in the fourth quarter. This combined with SWD Eagles flyhalf Karlo Aspeling’s five conversions inflated their score, which cancelled out the visitors’ fifth try by captain and centre Japie Nel as well as their two penalties, and allowed the hosts to snatch a 40-37 win.
SWD Eagles 40 (7) – Tries: Alshaun Bock, Alwyn Bester, Dwayne Kelly, Kurt Haupt, Luzuko Vulindlu, Shaun Raubenheimer. Conversions: Karlo Aspeling (5).
Down Touch Griffons 37 (27) – Tries: Elandre Huggett, Erik le Roux, Japie Nel, Norman Nelson, Vuyo Mbotho. Conversions: Colin Herbert (2), Franna du Toit. Penalties: Colin Herbert, Franna du Toit.
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division qualifiers log –round two:
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